Katherine Johnson: 101 Years Young!

August 26, 1918 : Katherine Johnson Born
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▪Johnson was born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

▪Johnson graduated from high school at the age of fourteen and from college at eighteen, she then taught high school math

▪In 1953 Johnson began working in the all-black West Area Computing section at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics at Langley Laboratory in Hampton Virginia, this section was headed by Dorothy Vaughan

▪At Langley Johnson was part of a team that tested airplanes while in flight by analyzing turbulence and wind gust to research ways to prevent the planes from crashing

▪While Johnson conducted the research she was not allowed to attend the meetings with experts to prepare the reports because she was a woman, this all changed due to her persistence, and she was finally allowed in a meeting and became the first woman in her group to sign her name to a report

▪When Langley purchased machine computers Johnson learned how to program them and taught other women how to do so as well

▪Johnson helped to calculate the pathways of John Glenn’s 1962 orbit around the Earth

▪Johnson contributed calculations that allowed for the sucessful mission of Apollo 11 to the moon in 1969

▪In 1970 Johnson’s research enabled the crew of Apollo 13 to make a safe return to Earth after their mission to the moon was aborted

▪Johnson worked for Langley for thirty-three years

▪In 2015 President Barack Obama awarded Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom

▪In 2016 a new building was dedicated at Langley in honor of Johnson named the, “Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility”
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Book Feature: Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 (2018)
Written by: Helaine Becker
Illustrated by: Dow Phumiruk

Althea Gibson

August 25, 1927: Althea Gibson Born
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▪Born in Siver, South Carolina, Gibson moved to Harlem, New York with her family when she was around three years old

▪Gibson began competing in tennis tournaments as a teenager with the American Tennis Association which was a predominantly African American tennis association

▪In 1950 Gibson became the first African American to compete in the U.S. Nationals

▪In 1957 Gibson bacame the first African American woman to win a Wimbledon title and received her trophy from Queen Elizabeth II

▪In addition to tennis Gibson also played basketball, table tennis and golf, touring with the Harlem Globe Trotters and becoming the first African American woman in the Ladies Professional Golf Association

▪Gibson was also a singer and actress

▪Gibson was the first African American to be featured on the covers of Time and Sports Illustrated

▪In 1971 Gibson was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame
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Book Feature: Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis’ Fleet-of-Foot Girl (Releases Jan. 2020)
Written by: Megan Reid
Illustrated by: Laura Freeman

Investigate, Negotiate, Educate…Demonstrate! Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins

August 19, 1958: The Oklahoma City Sit-Ins Began
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▪Clara Luper, NAACP Youth Council Sponser, led a group of around a dozen students in a lunch counter sit-in at Katz drugstore in Oklahoma City, which displayed a, “Whites Only”, sign in the window like many local establishments

▪Prior to the sit-in, Luper and her students wrote letters and held meetings with business owners but they refused to to remove the , “Whites Only”, signs and allow everyone to patronize their stores and restaurants

▪During the sit-in the students were spat on, shouted at, and had food and drink thrown on them, but they continued to sit there until the store closed, despite never once being served

▪Luper and the students returned the next day with even more students, almost filling up the whole drugstore

▪Two days into the protest Katz agreed to desegregate all thirty-eight of it’s stores throughout the United States

▪For the next six years Luper and her students continued desegregating other local businesses

▪In 1964, discrimination in public accomodations was outlawed in Oklahoma City
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Book Feature: Someday Is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins (2018)
Written by: Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Illustrated by: Jade Johnson